05 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Q. What do you get when you cross a Prius and a Scion?

26 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

At DL, I noticed that the bar telly vision was tuned to ESPN #something-or-other, where a big deal was being made of the NBA draft (mercifully, the sound was turned off), which, as my mother would have said, is the biggest nothing, indeed a biggest nothing of the highest order. It means nothing until the first tip-off of the next NBA season, which I intend to ignore as I have ignored all the preceding NBA seasons since Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld retired.

We have a media that makes somethings out of nothings, while real somethings (for example) go ignored.

We are awash in stupid.


25 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

A bicycle ride on trash day in the heat of the summer can be an olfactory adventure.

21 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

We are sharing a flat with Sheddinger’s cat.

19 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

The phrase “Twitter conversation” is an oxymoron.

12 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

The movie, A Christmas Story, has become an American Christmas standard, played over and over on cable television during the Christmas season.

How many persons know that it is a conflation of several stories by Jean Shepherd, humorist, author, and raconteur, who is the faceless narrator of the movie?

I first encountered his stories in Playboy (Yes, Playboy is at the link and, yes, I still read the articles–they beat the hell out of Time and what’s left of Newsweek; if you must know, I start with jokes, then go to the cartoons), which I started reading as soon as I turned 15, got my drivers license (the times were different then), and could purchase the magazine at the White Brothers pharmacy in Accomack County. Then I learned that “Shep” had a radio show on WOR in New York City, when WOR was a legitimate radio station, long before it became a wingnut talker.

When the weather conditions were correct and the family dinner concluded before 6 p. m., I used to catch his broadcasts on the skip (look it up). They were a joy to listen to. You could never anticipate where he might go.

You can listen to many of his shows here. (Lorenzo deserves our thanks for all he has done to make Old Time Radio accessible. I’ve traded emails with him. He is Good People.)

Shep deserves remembrance; he was an American Original.

03 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Why is it that, when Facebook et al. spy on you and sell your data to third parties to make money, it’s okay, but when the NSA spies on you and keeps your data secret, it’s a scandal?

01 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

I think I’ve figured out why hipsters prefer the Yassar Arafat look those silly beards that look like three days’ stubble.

They think it’s cool to look as if they’ve stayed up in their Mom’s basement all weekend playing World of Warcraft and flirting with Siri while forgetting to shave.

28 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

I don’t miss stepping on airplanes two or three times a month any more.

25 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

S. S. United States

A massive piece of the historic SS United States is for sale, as the conservancy trying to save the ship is running out of money and time.

The SS United States Conservancy is looking to sell a massive propeller sitting on its deck in Philadelphia.

She set records in her prime.

Were she an ugly old building distinguished for nothing more than being old and ugly, preservationists would be clambering to preserve her.

You can see some more pictures of her here.

25 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

It’s Memorial Day weekend.

Remember that young folks die because old men lie.

As you honor the young folks, so too should you contemn and disdain the old men, the ones who lied.

22 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

On my way to DL tonight, I was caught in a traffic jam. TV news crews were on hand, with cute ladies and trim men talking into microphones in front of disheveled camera men (and they were all men).

It was the backwash of this.

Now I know why those TV news crews were there. It was not your routine “driver runs into crepe myrtle tree in the median strip” accident.


I am not a fan of crepe myrtle trees.

When I was in college, one of my summer jobs was cutting grass along the highways for the Department of Highways. When you are cutting grass with a sickle bar mounted on a tractor, crepe myrtles, though they may be pretty, can be quite annoying.


I remember having woman store clerks in Yankeeland look at me funny when I said, “Yes, ma’am.” They thought I was commenting on their age, when I was just being polite (Southerners will understand).

At the same time, I remember how jarring it was the first time some whippersnapper referred to me as “Sir.”

09 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

This week, many members of the commentariat, including some whose overall track record is pretty good, have been outraged that Condileeza Rice’s First Amendment right to free speech has been violated and that she has been somehow censored.

Who violated it? She did, by withdrawing from a gig at the Rutgers University graduation ceremonies because the students did not want her there.

How was she censored, as no one told her what she could or could not say? She lost a speaking gig.

Students were unhappy that they were going to be addressed by one of the architects, albeit a minor one, of the Great and Glorious Patriotic War for a Lie in Iraq. Indeed a good case can be made that, given her role in authorizing the torture dungeons of President George the Worst (see the news story linked above), she should be in the dock at the Hague for war crimes.

Note that her actions were not private actions. This cannot be compared to, say, refusing to hire someone because you don’t like her Facebook page. These were the actions of someone who swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and then chose not to do so.

Yet, because she is a member of the club–she wears nice suits, looks good in meetings, writes elegant emails, knows the right people–she continues to be treated as if she were somehow an exemplar of something.

Also, this was not just an “appearance” on campus that one could attend or not. It was graduation, which graduates want to attend if they can; if not a captive audience, they would have been the next thing to it, forced to subject themselves to the empty platitudes certain to pass her lips if they wished to receive their diplomas in person.

Frankly, were I a student at Rutgers, I would have been right out there demonstrating against her presence on campus, just as, when I was a student, I demonstrated against the presence of Richard Nixon on my campus.

In the column linked above, Dick Polman claims that there is some similarity between Rice and Eric Holder, because both are black, both have accomplished much from humble beginnings, and Holder recently canceled a graduation speech due to threats of right-wing violence. Using the same standard, Santa Claus and Medusa are alike because both are mythological creatures.

Anyhoo, back to my point.

Rice can say anything she wants to anyone she wants. Her freedom of speech has not been violated in any way. There is no censorship here.

The First Amendment guarantees that the national government cannot restrict someone’s speech. It does not guarantee a platform or an audience, nor does it insulate persons from consequences for what they have said and done.

06 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Penny ScaleOnce there was a radio detective show called “The Fat Man” that opened with the detective’s weighing himself on one of the penny scales that were found in drug stores back in the olden days, when I was a young ‘un.

There he goes into that drug store.

He’s stepping on that scale (sound of coin dropping).

(tinny voice) “Weight: 239 pounds. Fortune: Danger!”

Who is it? The Fat Man!

Back then, 239 pounds was considered “fat.”

Today, as near as I can tell as I walk the mild streets of Virginia Beach, 239 pounds is the new svelte.

06 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Am I the only person who thinks this fellow has a perfect name for a Republican pol?



05 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

I recently traded emails with the webmaster of My Old Radio regarding his site’s having episodes of Sam Spade, starring Howard Duff, categorized as Adventures of Philip Marlowe.

Somewhere, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler got all mixed up together. Any mystery fan could tell the difference, but someone running a big huge website can easily make a mistake. I run a little tiny website. I can certainly understand.

His response was most courteous and gracious.

I urge you to check out My Old Radio. Sit back, listen, and enjoy.

04 May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

He’s accused of using a weapon to force Waffle House employees into the back of a restaurant so he could steal money.

But it’s the weapon he used that really caught witnesses’ attention. The suspect was carrying a pitchfork.

Under the circumstances, one would think they could have bent the style-book a little and referred to it as “an iron trident.”

13 April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

It was likely the last great public work to be built by by private investors.

I watched it get built, as we crossed the Chesapeake on ferries on our semi-annual trips to visit my grandmother; I have posted about it here several times.

My local rag recounts the story of the building of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, 17.5 miles of trestle, two tunnels, and one high-level bridge crossing the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean.

Every time I cross it–and I have crossed it dozens of times–I marvel. Crossing it late at night, there is just you, the bridge, and the ocean. If you want to cross it with me, download and watch this file (*.mov).

One time many years ago, I drove down from Washington to pick up my brother, who was flying in from South Carolina for a holiday (as I waited for him at the Norfolk Airport, I was accosted by a Moonie–remember Moonies?–to whom I gave a dollar to leave me alone because I had been on the road for four hours and just could not cope). In the first tunnel, some fellow crossed the double-yellow line to pass us at high speed. As we exited the second tunnel, we saw that fellow in earnest conference with the CBBT police.

These days, it would never be built.

The money would instead be devoted to paying for the country club memberships for the one per cent.


Here’s more about the Chesapeake Bay Ferries. The Princess Anne was the flagship; the Accomac was pressed into service when another ship was in repair. All of them had a restaurant and a lounge. In later years, when our family was a bit more flush, we might have breakfast on board.

The funnest thing for my brother and me was hanging over the bow railing in the summer watching the boat cut through at a stunning speed of ten or eleven knots the “stinging nettles,” Eastern Shore for stinging jellyfish which were clearly visible from the height of the upper deck. (The ferries took a scheduled hour and a half for the seventeen-mile crossing.)

Stinging nettles were a steady summer threat at Chesapeake Bay beaches in the lower bay (in the upper bay, there is too much fresh water for them to survive). A sting was a common thing if you swam in the bay in the late summer. In the wider bay, the jellyfish would grow to be three feet or more across.

10 April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

We recently splurged on a Roomba, because, frankly, vacuuming this place is annoying. The vacuum cleaner sucks real good, but it’s heavy and awkward, plus there’s about an hour of moving stuff about to every 15 minutes of vacuuming–chairs, coffee tables, cat stuff, throw rugs, and so on.

I don’t expect the robot to replace the vacuum, but it looks as if it will supplement it nicely.